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Old 11-18-2010, 12:51 PM   #1
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Preparing salt water tank?

My 55 gallon FOWLR tank is nearly ready. Last night I put in 40 lbs of Fiji Pink live sand, and started filling the tank in preparation to fishless cycle it. I do not own a RO unit, so I have to drive to CVS and fill 5 gallon buckets with RO water from the Glacier water machine, it's only .25 per gallon which is not too bad. I have never mixed salt water until last night, and I noticed that the salt does not mix readily with the water.

I do not own any automated equipment to help me here, so I have been using my new fish net to stir the water. How long does the water need to sit with the salt in it before it is fully dissolved? I let my second batch of 15 gallons sit overnight.

Also, after pouring the water into the tank, it is quite cloudy, you can barely see to the back of the tank, is this normal?

How long should the tank sit before turning on the filter, heater, etc.?

I also noticed that if I use the 1/2 cup of Instant Ocean per gallon as directed on the package, that I was getting hydrometer readings of 1.026 and higher.

Thanks,

Jared
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Old 11-18-2010, 01:01 PM   #2
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i've heard it suggested that with a small powerhead to consistently agitate the water you should sit it for 24 hours, and dechlorinate with Prime or whatever you have.

yes, the cloudiness is normal, stirring up all that sand and whatnot

and as soon as you can, it'll clear the tank right up from the cloudiness!

not sure about the salt, as i buy premixed(others will say this is a terrible idea)
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Old 11-18-2010, 02:20 PM   #3
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I would turn on your heater and filter now. You don't want the live rock to start dying off due to a temperature drop. The filter will circulate the heat throughout and also mix your synthetic salt.

You should purchase a cheap heater and power head for pre-mixing the salt a night before. Just use one of the 5 gallon containers and pour the salt mix in. Then add the heater and power head, it should be ready the next day.
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Old 11-18-2010, 03:07 PM   #4
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I mix my saltwater in a big rubbermaid garbage can. The RO/DI water goes in and when it's full I add the salt, a power head, and a heater. Give it 24 hours and you are ready for the water change.

The cloudiness is likely due to the sand more than the SW. Once you have livestock in the tank make sure tht you mix your water well first so tht the salinity and temperature are correct. Otherwise you can shock and kill your livestock.
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Old 11-18-2010, 03:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jphendren View Post
...
I also noticed that if I use the 1/2 cup of Instant Ocean per gallon as directed on the package, that I was getting hydrometer readings of 1.026 and higher...
Along that line, you should probably spend the $40-50 and get a refractometer to measure salinity. As you've seen, hydrometers (swing-arm, I'm assuming) aren't the most accurate things because 1/2 cup of IO per gallon doesn't equate to 1.026. Probably closer to 1.022ish.
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:52 PM   #6
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I finished filling the tank, it took about 43 gallons or so till to about 1" below the rim of the tank, and a little above the spray bar.

Right now there is no live rock or livestock of any type, just saltwater and live sand. I installed and turned on the heater (280W), and primed my Rena XP3 and now have it running. I added about 100mL of Nutrifin cycle to get the bacteria started. The bottle says to add more on day 2 and day 3, so I will do that as well.

Should I wait a day or two to add the live rock? I haven't bought any yet, but my local fish shop sells nice fiji cured live rock, so I can pick up some when the time is right. Once the water clears up nicely I will re-check the salinity, and adjust if necessary.

Also, what is the best way to do fishless cycling? I have read you can use pure Ammonia without surfactants, raw shrimp from the supermarket, or even your own urine.

Jared
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:33 PM   #7
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Yes add the live rock now. Also purchase a test kit that will test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. Depending on how cured the live rock is, your tank might cycle within 2 - 4 weeks.

I would just add the live rock and cycle your tank with that. No need to pee in your tank.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:50 PM   #8
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Get a piece of raw shrimp from your local fish store put it in a filter bag, drop it in the tank then sit back and wait for the tank to cycle. You'll know it cycled when Ammonia and nitrites are 0 and nitrates are present. As said above now is a good time to put live rock in your tank.
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:42 PM   #9
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I bought 4.5 pounds of live rock this afternoon, two small pieces. I put them in the tank, they make the tank look a little better. One piece has a cave, and the other an arch, so there are already some hiding spots. I noticed after I put them that there is a tiny 3/4" green wormlike creature crawling around in the sand, is this a bristle worm?

Jared
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:06 AM   #10
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I used pure ammonia and the cycle happened exactly the way it was described in the many articles that I read. An obvious spike in ammonia which eventually dropped to zero leading to a big spike in nitrites, then eventually an overnight drop to zero with a very minimal spike in nitrates.
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